23 August 2013

Quick takes!

1. Sunday marks five years of Matthew and I being together! He picked me up from the airport after a two week graduate school tour and we have rarely been separated since that moment. It has been nothing short of amazing.

2. This picture was taken when I was in the Wisconsin part of my grad school tour and hanging out with the Milos.

Photo by Cousin Lisa.

My hair was so long and red!

3. We decided to make tasty dinner tonight to celebrate our 60/12 year milestone.

We made Thai Tofu Cakes, Grilled Maple Rum Glazed Panzanella Salad, and chocolate chip cookies.

4. I made a new dress last night. Every time I told someone that today, they were very surprised. It is another Washi, but made into dress form unlike last time. I used a pair of blue curtains I purchased from Savers. I love the weight of the fabric and this dress is amazingly comfortable.

I thought it would look good with the belt around the waist, but I think it is much better without anything holding the dress back. It needs room to breathe! This time, I cut a small again and shifted the dart straight down by 1.5 cm. The dart now hits at the exact right spot. I also extended the length of the bodice by about 1.5 cm, so it now ends at the bottom of my ribcage instead of just under my breasts. It has pockets!

The necklace I am wearing is one of the necklaces I received from my Grandma Trudy and it goes perfectly with the blue of the dress.

5. The cat wanted to go outside tonight and I decided to take pictures of her while she was checking everything out. She didn't want to stay put for the entire duration of the exposure.

6. The cat was very lounge-y the other night. She is adorable.

7. My next sewing adventure is the Elisalex Dress. I found some shiny muted mint green curtains at Savers that I think would be perfect for it. I am planning on the long sleeved version, but I might make it 3/4 sleeves if the long sleeves seem too overwhelming for the dress. I am also planning on making the skirt several inches shorter. I am going to attempt a full bust adjustment for the first time!

21 August 2013

The things that I have made.

In my last post, I showed pictures of the top that I had made, in this one I'll have pictures of all the rest of the things that I have made since buying my machine in March of this year. Matthew and I had a lovely photoshoot today after work when the light was beautiful.

In roughly chronological order:

Miette Skirt. I cut a straight size 2 with the pockets. The fabric is a linen tablecloth from Savers. You will be hearing a lot about tablecloths from Savers. This is a wrap skirt where the wrap is in the back instead of in the front. It is quite a nice pattern and for my first pattern, I think it came out pretty well. The hem is a bit wonky and I didn't press the ties as well as I could before turning.

I probably should have ironed all the clothes before the pictures, alas, I did not. Get ready for wrinkly skirts!

Sorbetto top. This is a free pattern from Colette Patterns. I made a straight size 2. If I were to make this again, I would move the dart down, add a few more inches to the bottom, and use my own bias tape. This was my first time using bias tape and store bought bias tape is plasticly and not super awesome. The fabric was from Savers in the curtain area, but it is just a quilting weight cotton.

It does make a good comfy top!

Self-drafted circle skirt. This is another tablecloth find from Savers. I love love love this skirt. It is comfortable, fun to twirl, and I get a lot of compliments on it. Before I started sewing, my colour palette stayed in the browns/blacks/greys/blues. Very neutral tones. Now I pick up any fabric that looks interesting even if the colour is a bit out of the norm for me. I installed my first zipper on this skirt. Not very well, but I did it!

It twirls so nicely!

Two makes: Kirsten Kimono Tee and self-drafted x-large man's shirt to skirt. The shirt was my first time sewing with knits. I am glad that my sewing machine has a special foot that will do a zigzag stitch - it literally pulls the fabric side to side so my straight stitch machine will do a zigzag. For being a first shirt, I think it came out pretty well. In another incarnation (further down) I modified to fit me a bit better and next time I will modify it just a bit more. I cut a size S at the bust and graded to XS at the waist. I also did not add the missing seam allowance to try to make it a bit more fitted. I bought the knit at Joann's.

For the skirt, I used the seam ripper to take off the breast pocket and cut the shirt right below the arm seam. I used left over fabric from the top for the waist band and sewed on snaps to keep the top closed. This skirt is one of my favourite things I have made. It is comfortable and fun to wear and adds a bit more colour to my closet. I bought the shirt at Goodwill.

Refashion: Man shirt to tunic. I made this one morning when I woke up early before I was going to give a test for the class I taught this summer. I got a lot of compliments on it from my students, which is always fun. A friend and his family recently moved to California and in preparation for the move, they gave almost everything away. His wife and I were are almost the exact size, so I scored a few pretty awesome things from her and I picked out this shirt to see if I could do anything fun with it.

My measuring skillz were not super awesome that morning and I sewed up more on one side than the other, but I think the belt covers up a lot of that. There is a lot of fabric near the shoulders, so I would probably add a dart or two to try to take in some of that billowness. I also haven't finished any of the seam allowances and they are starting to fray, I should probably do something about that. Overall, it is fun to wear and I love it.

Butterick 5928 and another Kirsten Kimono Tee. I used this for the skirt, but I really want to make the Tunic of View B. I have a size 14, which is a bit big for me and being quite new to sewing, I haven't mastered tailoring quite yet, so this skirt is a bit too big. It was the first pattern in which I used my tracing paper and wheel which works quite nicely. I liked being able to trace the darts directly onto the fabric. I put this zipper in a bit better than the circle skirt. I had to use a regular zipper foot because I didn't have an invisible foot. This is fabric my mother sent me when I told her that I was teaching myself how to sew. The quilting fabric is quite stiff and not drapey like the linen tableclothes I used previously.

I think I was getting very done taking pictures!

For the shirt, I sloped my cutting in by a couple of centimeters at the waist and I extended the kimono sleeves by 2 cm which I think looks so much better than the black tee. The next time I make this shirt, I will decrease the amount of fabric in the front and back by an inch or so. There is significant gaping, especially in the back. I bought this knit from Joann's.

Refashion: Large woman shirt to skirt. I made this in about 10 minutes. The day before I made made a shirt from a tablecloth that frayed incredibly. I think there are still threads from that shirt and it has been nearly a month since I made it. The shirt is unpictured because it does not look great at all. I spent an entire Saturday making it and when I got up on Sunday I wanted something quick and gratifying which was this skirt.

It is stretchy shirt I bought at Goodwill. I cut off the sleeves and sewed up the arm holes. Done! It is very form fitting which Matthew likes very very much. The tie is left over from the shirt and I thought it was fun, so I left it.

Refashion: Woman dress to skirt. I bought a dress from Savers because I liked the pattern and fabric. The top of the dress was a bit small for my big breasts. The dress got the easiest treatment of changing to just a skirt. I cut it off right around the waist and added elastic to the top.

This skirt doesn't twirl as well as the circle skirt, no matter how hard I try. The elastic is just a bit too tight for me, therefore this skirt is a bit uncomfortable to wear all day. It isn't so bad and I still love the print.

Anna Dress. As everyone else has said, the packaging on the By Hand London patterns is beautiful! I like how they include a garment tag. I am calling this my wearable muslin and when I make my real version, I'll sew in the tag. I made the bodice of this dress three times to get it right for me. The first time I cut a size 4/8, but that was too small for my breasts, so I went up to the 6/10. I also had to a pretty substantial forward shoulder adjustment - approximately 3.5 cm at the corner of my shoulders. I didn't try to adjust the armhole after the adjustment though, so there is a lot of fabric hanging out that probably shouldn't be there. The fabric is another tablecloth from Savers.

Next time, I'll cut a 6/10 or 8/12 at the bust and decrease to 4/8 for the waist and hips. After making the bodice three times and not being super happy with it, I was debating if I should continue with the dress or not. I had just read Lladybird's post about she never has any "UFO's" or unfinished objects. I decided to just push through and finish the pattern because it was already cut out. When I put on the skirt, I fell in love with the dress. Things to change for next time: I need to extend the pleats on the bodice by about an inch to reach my waist line and I am thinking of changing it to a sleeveless bodice. I tried to extend the sleeves like the Kimono tees, but in this fabric it wasn't working as well. I feel like a football player. I was able to use my new invisible zipper foot for the zipper and aside from the bunching on one side, it went it well. When I put in the zipper, I hand basted down one side and sewed it in. When I went to hand baste the other side, I made it nearly to the end and realised that I had twisted the zipper tape and had to take out the basting. Instead of putting in more basting, I thought I would just pin the zipper in place and it shifted around quite a bit when I was sewing it in. I also didn't take super good care to finish my hems - I used used my rolled hem foot which is very unhappy about going over any seams. Next time! I wore this dress on Monday and Matthew's boss asked if I had a presentation or job interview to go to. Nope! The occasion is I finished a dress!

Latest creation: Shower curtain to skirt using Simplicity 6594. Another Savers find was this shower curtain with a black ribbon and fabric covered buttons. I don't usually wear pink, but I thought this fabric was fantastic. I bought this pattern off of Ebay and when I went to take out the pattern pieces, I discovered that I only had the front piece and no facings. I did have two sets of instructions, though. From the line drawings, the front looked very similar to the back, so I just used the same piece to cut both the front and back.

I added the back slit after wearing this all day and not being able to take a full stride. I didn't follow either of the instructions included in the pattern and just went my own way. The top of the shower curtain acted as my waistband and it already had built in button holes! I sewed up the sides until about 3 inches from the top. I left a flap open on either side that closes with a button and a snap to get in and out of the skirt. This was my first time trying to match up stripes/plaid and I think I did a pretty good job at the sides. This outfit prompted several people to ask if I was giving a presentation or job interview. Unless you are doing something important, people in physics don't really dress up at all.

Whew, that is a lot sewing and I am just getting started in my sewing career! I have a few more things to refashion including a 100% blue silk muumuu, a bright floral dress with a silk shirt, and an XL black sweatshirt. When I was in Colorado last week, I went shopping at Mom's House of Fabric and mailed a big box home full of buttons and fabric. I am looking forward to digging into my newly acquired stash. Thanks, Mom! And if I don't have enough fabric, I can always go to Savers.

12 August 2013

In which I make a top

I think this is my favourite thing that I have made so far in my short sewing career. Well, my Hawaiian shirt to skirt is still pretty awesome, but this is my favourite thing "from scratch".

The colour is a bit washed out, but it is actually a periwinkle.

I used the Washi Dress pattern and I love it. I really like the "U" cut out and the shirring in the back. I moved the bust dart a bit too far down, but other than that it fits well. I used a tablecloth I bought from Savers (surprise, surprise) and had enough fabric to make self bias tape. I love this top and I am looking forward to making the dress version as well.

10 August 2013

Another week, another quick take

1. I started sewing an Anna dress today out of a green tablecloth I bought at Savers. I am doing the knee length version with a v-neck. Steve was over while I was fitting the bodice and told me I looked like an elf. I guess it is that sort of green.

2. I have learned a lot about the shape of my body since learning how to sew. (a) I have forward sloping shoulders so I need to do a forward shoulder adjustment. (b) One breast is bigger than another (like everyone who has breasts) and it means adjusting the size/location of my bust darts. (c) I have broad shoulders and any sleeves that are cap or kimono make me look like a football player.

3. Things on my sewing to do list are the Hawthorne Dress, a bra (!), and the Washi Dress.

4. Every day this past week, I wore something I made. Which means I wore skirts all week.

5. Anyone have recommendations for interesting podcasts? I listen to them while I sew and I run out of my usual ones (On the Media, This American Life) within a couple of hours.

6. My favourite snack right now: sourdough toast topped with avocado and sauerkraut or kimchi. So delicious.

7. I beat Matthew this week at Twilight Struggle as the USSR in the Late War. It was super satisfying. Have I mentioned Twilight, our new favourite game? It is made for two players and is the number one game on Boardgamegeek.com. It takes a bit to learn and once you do it is absolutely fantastic.

04 August 2013

Weekend Quick Takes!

1. I am done with my class! Well, very very nearly. I am waiting for my TA to finish grading all the labs so I can get a final grade distribution. I took the time to grade all my finals on the day they took it and I am so so happy that I did that.

2. Things I really enjoyed about my class: being able to do all the problems with no issue, having to relearn the small topics that I was slightly wobbly on, and students who were really into learning physics.

3. Things I did not enjoy so much: grading and students who were really not into learning physics. Did I mention grading?

4. Now that I am done with my class and I have no classes to take this year, my time is more open. I am looking forward to my dissertation writing schedule. Or at least the ease myself into writing my dissertation schedule: write for the first hour of the day before checking any email or doing anything else. If I am working well, then I can keep writing, or if I need to do something else, that is fine, at least I completed an hour of writing.

5. Before the dissertation writing, comes paper writing. I have one paper to finish this week. After finishing my AGU abstract, I am going to give that paper the old one-two punch.

6. Also, I am starting my job search. There are a few jobs I am very interested in and I hope someone wants to hire me.

7. Yesterday, I sewed a blouse from an old tablecloth I bought at Savers. It came out okay, the collar somehow shifted to one side so it is a bit wonky. The fabric I used frayed so so much. I would have gone back to fix the collar and a few other things, but I was afraid to unpick anything because of the fray. I might wear it once, but it did teach me a few new techniques: hand worked button holes, collars, darts on the sleeves for elbow movement. This morning, I took a shirt I bought at Goodwill that was too big, cut off the sleeves, sewed up the arm holes and now I have a skirt. It took about 10 minutes and I love it.